It's been a while since there was a Pagan character on an assembly show. In fact, besides witchy Willow and Technopagan Jenny Calendar on Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, I can't think of any. Zhaan, of Farscape fame, comes to mind as well, but I feel she was more 'Earthy' than 'Pagan-y'. At any rate, I'm talking more of characters with a religion or practice recognizable as Pagan.
I think I am mostly longing for characters on a scripted assembly show who are Pagan, but who are not defined by it. Like there are now parts for actors which are labeled 'of any ethnicity' or 'of either gender', there should be characters 'of any religion'. A character who is described as 'Christian' could, in most cases, simply have their religion replaced by 'Pagan'.
I talked about Falling Skies before, and the deeply religious character in it. She could have just as easily been made Pagan. The difficulty with picking a religion or practice with which the mainstream public is unfamiliar is that you'll end up with just a few, basic, story lines as some aspects of it need to be introduced before it can become a non-issue:
- The coming out: "you are [insert faith or practice under the Pagan umbrella], you say? What's that?"
- The struggle: "you are weird for being [insert faith or practice under the Pagan umbrella], so we won't trust you/we will call you names/we will make you feel horrible before we accept you"
- The examination: spending too much time focussing on the practice so 'we get it right' (and usually get it wrong in the process), making the character all about their religion
I see this happening a lot for lesbian characters as well. They only have three basic story lines:
- Coming out/struggling with being gay
- Wanting to have a baby
- Dying/having their lover die (or go back to boys)
This was especially bad ten to twenty years ago, so maybe there is hope for Paganism as well. I would love to see a Neo-Wiccan character of Glee, or an Asatru on Flashpoint. Maybe a practitioner of Hellenismos on Pretty Little Liars or a non-religious witch on a day time soap (although that'll probably go epically wrong).
Are there shows you would like to see a Pagan character on? If so, what should they look like? Act like? Is there a specific story line you'd like to see? I'm curious to hear your reactions.